Saving Riverview Drive: ‘Dad, we’ve got to go!’

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I was helping John Brummer set up a sump pump behind his sandbag dike when we heard sirens. “That’s not good,” he said.

“It must be just sandbags,” I said, because the police had been escorting flatbeds full of sandbags earlier this week.

“Dad, we’ve got to go; mom’s grabbing her purse,” her son said. And John didn’t wait, running for the car. I headed to the Morses who were already heading for their SUV, Todd going back inside to get a critical piece of equipment: my laptop.

A levee had broken — or was intending to — up the street, we were told (Note: We don’t know that this is the case, we only know what we were told) . I headed in that direction. Volunteers and residents were streaming out. Firefighters were streaming in.

Up near Highway 75, more sirens. State troopers and local police escorted more flatbeds of sandbags in.

Just minutes before that, things seemed to be going well, despite some obvious hardships, one of which is the lack of pumps. Sump pumps would burn out quickly. Water started coming into the basement of Todd and Donna Morse’s house. This gentleman in the black is a mechanic who worked all day practically rebuilding this pump.

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But when it was hooked up and started, it immediately blew a seal. There was no time to try to open it up again, so Todd and his family and friends tried to minimize the damage and pump out what could be pumped out.

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Update 9:44 p.m. As you can tell from the comments below (family members, please keep the updates coming!), the problem has been repaired and the people are still at it. I’ve found a motel in Rothsay and I hope to return on Saturday.

Photographer Jeff Thompson, just sent this picture from Fargo, and says it’s “spooky quiet” there.

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9:48 p.m. – Vikki Johnson has checked in (comments below) and reports she and Bruce are fine.